September 2013

Bruising In Older Patients

“I promise I don’t beat him” chuckled the ninety-one pound octogenarian about her husband’s black and blue forearms and hands.

I have been surprised with how much concern and worry there is around bruising of the forearms in my older patients. I personally have distinct memories of my grandparents’ arms being black and blue at times; sometimes with little tears. I think I just assumed everyone knew this was not unusual. Granted it does not happen to everyone. But it is so common that I was always a little perplexed when patients seem confounded by it. But one day I asked, “I understand you are concerned. But don’t you have friends your age that this is happening to also?” And the man’s answer put it all in perspective for me: “Yes, but I never figured it would happen to me!”

Basal Cell Carcinoma

Sometimes truth and everyday reality is stranger than fiction. Had someone told me that someday I would be discussing one-eyed cyclopean sheep and sonic hedgehogs with my skin cancer patients, I would have laughed. But alas! Dermatologists are now sharing the bizarre tale of these creatures with patients diagnosed with complicated forms of a common skin cancer called Basal Cell Carcinoma.